November 10, 2020

As we approach the holidays and the season of giving and gratitude, I want to share a recent experience of mine with a random act of kindness.  As I was pulling my thoughts together, I vaguely remembered a heartwarming article on the subject from a few years ago in the San Diego papers.  

I found it this morning.  Here is the link.   THE MATTHEW JACKSON LEGACY

The story was of a young mother and her crying 5-month-old baby at the check-out counter at Trader Joe’s in Oceanside, California.   Her credit card had been denied for the $200 tab, and her debit card and cash were at home.   A young man behind her stepped up and offered to pay her bill.   The young mother was stunned by this man’s kindness.  She asked his name and where he worked. 

“I’m Matthew and I’m a personal trainer at LA Fitness in Carlsbad.”

A few days later she called LA Fitness to thank Matthew again, and was told by his boss, choking back tears, Matthew had recently been tragically killed in a car crash.  

As I re-read the article today, I realized Matthew’s random act of kindness occurred five years ago on this day, November 10.   He was killed less than 24 hours later on November 11, 2015.  He was 28.  

Tender Moment, painting by Rhett Thurmann (c) 2018, original photo by Ed Pomphrey

In July I spoke via Zoom to the wonderful support group Helping Parents Heal.   At the conclusion of my talk, I offered to send a copy of Suffering Is the Only Honest Work to anyone who might like to have a copy.   All I asked is that they send me $6 to cover the cost of the book and mailing.  

A couple of months later I received a letter from Sarah from New Jersey who had listened to my talk.   She had enclosed a check for $100 to cover the costs of 16 copies of our book.   She wrote

“I would like one for myself and kindly ask if you would present 15 more to whomever you choose. If you don’t mind, please enclose these kindness cards with each book you give out.”

Sarah enclosed thirty cards, 2 for each recipient wrapped with this message.

Please accept this as a kind gesture from a parent within the Helping Parents Heal community.   All I ask is that you use the cards enclosed to continue to spread kindness in honor of our beloved son, Austin.

Sarah’s son, Austin, a University of South Carolina grad, transitioned in April of 2017 in Rumson, New Jersey.  He was 29 years old.  

This post is dedicated to these angels among us.

Michael Jackson
Austin Pomphrey

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Author Bios

Write Me Something Beautiful Authors - Casey and Jimmy Gauntt

Casey Gauntt

is a retired attorney and former senior executive of a major San Diego real estate company. He lives in Solana Beach, California, with his wife, Hilary. Casey grew up in Itasca, Illinois, graduated Lake Park High School in 1968, and received B.S., JD and MBA degrees from the University of Southern California.

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Jimmy Gauntt

was born and raised in Solana Beach and graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 2002.   A prestigious Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California, he majored in English and Spanish. He authored six plays, five screenplays, and a multitude of poems and short stories. Beginning in 2010, the USC English Department annually bestows the Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award—aka “The Jimmy”—to the top graduates in English.  Jimmy passed over to the other side in 2008 at age 24.

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